A few days ago I asked you about your best productivity tip while I also shared mine. From the discussion, it’s clear to me that I saw the problem from different perspective than most of you who participated. This – in my opinion – is a good thing. These two perspectives complement each other and give us a more complete view of productivity.
I would call the two perspectives macro and micro which also reflect two levels of productivity. The macro level aims to make our life as a whole productive. It sees productivity from higher altitude. On the other hand, the micro level aims to make one day productive.
In the discussion, I mainly saw the problem from the macro level, while most of you saw it from the micro level. But both of them are equally important. If we focus only on the micro level, then we may feel productive in our days only to find that we have done the wrong things at the end. On the other hand, if we focus only on the macro level, we may have a clear direction for our life but not be able to accomplish much in a day. Only by having both of them can we do a lot in a day while at the same time be sure that we have done the right things.
The Macro Level
The essential productivity tip in the macro level is follow your heart. I already wrote three reasons why I think this is a good tip, so I won’t repeat them in detail here. In essence, following your heart helps you ensure that you do the right things and do them with passion. Since you love doing it, you will be motivated to achieve more and therefore produce more.
Your life as a whole can be more productive this way. Besides giving you the direction and the motivation, following your heart also helps you have a balanced life. Following our mind tends to make we focus more on one side (e.g. financial aspect) while ignoring the others, (e.g. relationships). But, if we follow our heart, we will keep all aspects in balance.
The Micro Level
The essential productivity tip in the micro level is focus in uninterrupted block of time. I learned it from the David Legan’s and Beth Peterson’s comments in the discussion. Let’s dissect this tip:
1. Block of time
First of all, if we want to accomplish much then we must allocate a long enough block of time. As its name implies, block of time means it must be continuous. It should not be spread throughout the day.
Second, the block of time must be uninterrupted. We should prevent interruption as much as we can. Close the door, unplug the Internet, turn off the cell phone, and tell your co-workers not to disturb you. Do whatever it takes to prevent interruptions.
Focus means we should do only one task at a time. If we try to multitask then we won’t get optimal result. We should focus on just one task, and move to other task only after we finish it.
These three conditions help us enter the state of flow, the state where we are so absorbed by the task that we no longer realize the passage of time. Flow state is essential for high productivity. Like sun’s rays focused through magnifying glass can burn paper, mind focused in the state of fow can accomplish whatever task you face.
Combining these two tips will give you the best results. Make sure that you follow your heart and do what matters to you. But then, make sure that you accomplish your tasks with focus in uninterrupted block of time. This way, you will have very productive days and very productive life.
Photo by Balaji Dutt